COVID No Longer a Global Health Emergency, WHO Says

COVID is no longer a global health emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday.

“For more than a year, the pandemic has been on a downward trend with population immunity increasing from vaccination and infection, mortality decreasing, and the pressure on health systems easing,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference in Geneva.

“This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before Covid-19,” Tedros said.

“It’s therefore with great hope that I declared Covid-19 over as a global health emergency,” he said.

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020, triggering lockdowns and travel restrictions across the world.

Nearly 7 million people have died from the virus worldwide since the WHO first declared the emergency on January 30, 2020.

But Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the true figure was “likely” closer to 20 million deaths – nearly three times the official estimate – and he warned that the virus remained a significant threat.

Greece and US lift COVID restrictions

The WHO’s decision comes as Greece lifted all COVID-related restrictions in March, except in public and private health facilities and nursing homes for the elderly.

According to Worldometer, throughout this period 5,896,788 cases of Covid-19 were detected in Greece. 36,283 people died of the virus.

New Covid-19 cases peaked in January 2022 and remained high during last winter. There was also a spike in the summer of 2022. Since then, detected new cases have decreased significantly.

The U.S. is set to end its national public health emergency on May 11 as the waning of the pandemic led to fewer deaths in America in 2022 than in 2021, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report shows an overall drop of 5.3 percent in the death rate from all causes, a signal that the country last year had exited the worst phase of the pandemic. Deaths from covid dropped 47 percent between 2021 and 2022.

But COVID has not magically become like the flu or a new type of cold, Washington Post says.

Even though the population had built up high levels of immunity from vaccination and natural infection, covid was the fourth leading cause of death in 2022, behind heart disease (699,659 deaths), cancer (607,790) and “unintentional injury,” which includes drug overdoses (218,064).

The CDC estimated that covid was the underlying cause of 186,702 deaths and a contributing factor in another 58,284.

Recently the US Energy Department concluded that an accidental laboratory leak in China most likely caused the Covid-19 pandemic.

The conclusion from the energy department – which oversees a network of 17 US laboratories, including areas of advanced biology – is significant despite the fact that, as the report said, the agency made its updated judgment with “low confidence”.


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